Is Houston the Rodney Dangerfield of the sports world? Sure seems like it!
The Texans, both as a team and as individual players, have gotten punked, again. I'll get into the details in a bit but let's take a look at Houston as a sports city, in general. Even when we win, we still cannot be taken seriously. I'll only cover the top three sports clubs in order to not drag this out.
Retro back to the 1990s. The Houston Rockets make it to the NBA Championship for the first time (1994) and win. All you hear from sportscasters is that it was a fluke season. Everyone was saying there is no way the Houston Rockets would ever make it to the Championships, again. Well, they did, the very next year and guess what, they won, again. Still, very few wanted to give props to a two time Championship team. After the 1995 season, the winning team, aging, started drifting apart and started rebuilding. The fact is, they won twice in a row and only gathered marginal acceptance as a winning team.
Move forward to 2005. The Houston Astros fight their way to the World Series. Yes, I know they were swept in but the point is, no one expected them to make it that far. They were expected to lose the World Series. Houstonians stood behind their team regardless but the Astros received little respect from the rest of the nation.
Football is no different, on the national level. The Houston Oilers started their team in the AFL (Pre NFL-AFL merger) the same year as the Dallas Cowboys started in the NFL. The Oilers won the AFL championship their first two years as a team and made an appearance in the AFL Championships their third year where it took Dallas 6 years before they had their first winning season. The first year for Dallas, 1960, they lost every game. The Oilers went on to win 6 Division Championships and had 14 Playoff appearances but Dallas took the title of "Americas Team" under Tom Landry. Despite the dislike for the Oilers owner, Bud Adams, Houstonians loved their team. Houston now has a new and improved Football Organization.
Houston now have the Texans. In many ways they are an upgrade from the previous Houston Franchise. More respected owner within the city. Return to respectable and professional coaching staff. The team members are just as loved as the the previous franchise team members and now have their first Division clinch in Franchise history in a year filled with injuries to key players/positions and fighting for every yard and point they can grasp and still, with few exceptions, there is little respect on the national level.
Though several alternate positions for the Pro-bowl were offered to Texans, only two received outright invitations to the AFC team. Foster and Joseph are both very deserving players and I take nothing from them but many of their team mates were just as deserving from various position on both sides of the ball. A top rated offensive line seemingly snubbed. Linebackers that would be obvious assets to the AFC team in Hawaii, snubbed. There is more.
The Texans, despite their string of injuries, are moving into the playoffs being lead by Rookie, fresh starter, TJ Yates. The kid deserves respect for what he has taken on and the level of growth he has made in only a few short weeks. Seeing what he is capable of, there is no reason to downplay the potential that he could lead this team deep into the playoffs if not into the Superbowl. Still, most are calling a one and done year in the playoffs as if the spirit of this team could not rise from the ashes. This is a team that has proven itself stronger than a single person as each player works to put the whole team on their shoulders every time something goes wrong. Tj is one of those people. The list of obvious people, and I apologize if I miss anyone as there are so many, that are part of that group would be Cushing, Barwin, Foster, Tate, Jones, Daniels, Walter, Quin, Allen, Joseph, Cody, Watt, Brown, Reed, Smith, Ryans, A. Johnson and to be honest, I know I have missed some but I can't really sit here and name the whole active team.
We can't seem to get any respect. We need to take our respect as a sports city and make a run for the big ring. As I finish this post, I am listening to Mike Mayock (NFL Network Analyst) answering the question "Who do you think is the best AFC team" and saying Ravens and Steelers then finishing that answer by saying "And I think the Bengals could go far in the playoffs" Not even a condescending mention of the Texans until asked. Even then, he just disrespected TJ by making him out to be (paraphrasing) "A third string guy that they hope can be smart enough to play a few games to keep them in the hunt but not much else to be expected".
If the Texans are the team I know they are, this kind of disrespect will motivate them to take the respect they deserve. Win or lose, they will show up for every game from this point on. I'm reminded of the end of the movie "Ladybugs" when Rodney Dangerfield popped up and said "I finally got some respect!" As cheesy as this may sound, I feel this could be the Texans "Ladybugs" season where, at the end, they can stand up proud and yell "I finally got some respect!". That and the ever famous quote of champions...."I'm going to Disneyland!".